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Is Pre Workout Natty? (Or Is Pre Workout A Steroid/PED?)

If you’re wondering whether pre workout is natty, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I explain whether pre workout is considered natural, whether pre workout is a steroid or a PED, and if there are any natural bodybuilders who use it.

Is Pre Workout Natty?

Yes – pre workout is natty as it’s allowed in natural bodybuilding competitions. However, some bodybuilders would disagree as they believe that no supplements are considered natty.

What Does Natty Mean?

‘Natty’ is short for ‘natural’ in bodybuilders lingo.

But depending on who you ask, natty can have multiple meanings.

For example, some bodybuilders believe that to be natty, you need to consume no supplements at all.

Logically, this argument is flawed.


Well, many supplements out there like creatine and amino acids are found naturally in food.

So it makes no sense to call it out as unnatural if it’s part of the food we eat.

On the other hand, most bodybuilders agree that natty means you don’t take any banned PEDs (Performance-Enhancing Drugs).

In other words, you rely on diet, training and approved supplements by the world anti-doping agency to achieve your physique.

Is Pre Workout A Steroid?

When people talk about steroids in the bodybuilding industry, they’re generally referring to anabolic steroids, like Deca, Anadrol and Dianabol.

These are used to increase testosterone levels with the aim of increasing muscle mass and strength.

So on that front, pre workout isn’t a steroid as no pre workout supplements include these ingredients.

However, according to Healthline, pre workout supplements are classed as ‘legal steroids’.

Apparently, this is a term used for all muscle building supplements that aren’t ‘illegal’.

(I’m not so sure whether I agree with that!)

Is Pre Workout A PED?

Pre workout itself isn’t a supplement – it’s a powder comprised of many different supplements.

So with that in mind, pre workout isn’t a drug, but it may contain drugs.

Since most pre workouts contain caffeine (which is a drug), you could argue that most pre workouts contain drugs.

(Funny story – a popular pre workout supplement, Craze, was blacklisted by the US military after some soldiers failed drug tests. In turned out the manufactures added crystal meth-like compounds to the pre workout. No wonder it was voted’s 2012 Supplement Of The Year!)

Is Pre Workout Illegal?

Going back to the story above, pre workout isn’t illegal, but in rare instances, it may contain illegal compounds.

Now obviously, the illegal compounds won’t be included in the ingredients list, as the company wouldn’t be able to market it if it stated it had illegal ingredients.

And so, it’s best to buy pre workout from a company you can trust.

While most pre workout labels say they are not recommended for use under the age of 18, it’s still legal to buy if you’re under 18.

(At least in the United States…)

Is Pre Workout A Banned Substance?

Again, when we’re talking about pre workout, we’re really talking about the individual ingredients that make up pre workout.

Well, most pre workouts out there are legit and contain no banned substances.

But there are a small minority that include an ingredient called DMAA.

This is an amphetamine-like substance that was added to pre workouts to help improve fat loss and physical performance.

DMAA was recently banned by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) after many health problems and even deaths were linked to its use.

In one instance, a healthy 22-year-old male suffered a heart attack after consuming a supplement called Jack3d, which contained DMAA.

So when buying pre workout supplements, make sure to stay clear from DMAA which can be listed on product labels as below:

  • 1,3-DMAA
  • 1,3-Dimethylamylamine
  • 1,3-Dimethylpentylamine
  • 2-Amino-4-methylhexane
  • 2-Hexanamine, 4-methyl- (9CI)
  • 4-Methyl-2-hexanamine
  • 4-Methyl-2-hexylamine
  • Dimethylamylamine
  • Geranamine
  • Methylhexanamine
  • Methylhexanenamine

Also, be warned that DMAA in pre workout can fail a drugs test.

Here are a list of pre workouts that test positive due to their DMAA content.

Do Natural Bodybuilders Use Pre Workout?

Yes – since pre workout isn’t a banned substance (for the most part…), many natural bodybuilders use it to improve their workouts.

For example, Miami Pro winner and international DJ Joel Corry swears by Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout.

Another example is the WBFF European Champion winner Ross Dickerson who’s a big fan of EHPlabs Buzz.


In summary:

  • Pre workout is natty as you can take it in natural bodybuilding competitions.
  • Many natural bodybuilders take pre workout supplements.
  • Most pre workout supplements contain no banned substances, although a small minority contain DMAA which is prohibited.

That’s all for this article, but how long is pre workout good for after mixing? Or should you be taking pre workout twice a day?

Thanks for reading!